Photo: Getty Images
  /  12.28.2022

Oklahoma-based testing and inspection services company American Piping Inspection, Inc. will pay a former employee $250,000 after the Black male claimed he was racially discriminated against. The lawsuit announcement was made last week by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Court filings show the former employee, whose identity was withheld, is a Black radiographer who worked at the company’s Midland, Texas location. The lawsuit revealed that the derogatory comments started as soon as the man began working for the business in 2017. By 2018, he was fired. The plaintiff believes his position was terminated because he spoke up for himself and reported his boss’ behavior to higher-ups like the company’s vice president. In one instance, the Black male’s white supervisor “used the ‘N-word’ to refer to the radiographer and to other minority employees,” as reported by the EEOC. The supervisor also allegedly asked him, “What is the best way to see a Black man?” before responding, “At the end of a scope.” During this conversation, the white man gestured at him “as if aiming a firearm,” according to documents.

On another occasion, the same supervisor “made highly offensive racist ‘jokes‘ in the presence of the radiographer and other employees.” The lawsuit alleges that the plaintiff took his concerns to upper management, but nothing was done to rectify the ongoing situation. The former employee said after he brought his supervisor’s behavior to American Piping Inspection, Inc.’s attention, he began facing harsher punishments than non-Black coworkers who would make the same mistakes. Eventually, he was fired.

Included in the $250,000 settlement is a consent decree for three years which has already been approved by the federal court requiring the business to revise its anti-discrimination policies. The company must also distribute those updated guidelines to anyone offered employment with American Piping Inspection, Inc. Rudy Sustaita, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Houston district office, gave a statement regarding the lawsuit: “This case is a strong reminder that unlawful race discrimination and retaliation continue to permeate our workplaces. Other employers should take heed and review their practices and policies to ensure compliance with federal law. Otherwise, the EEOC will enforce the law against violators and seek redress for aggrieved employees.”

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